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Mega cheap airbrush kit?


Michael Morris
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I'm returning to modelling after a long break. I am just an occasional modeller and exclusively build real spacecraft and rockets. I'm thinking of getting an airbrush for use when covering large areas with a single colour or for a primer or laquer coat.

I have a VERY limited budget. Is something like this £28 kit on Amazon likely to be a waste of money? Remember I don't need it for fine detail and I'm no perfectionist.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ABEST-airbrush-compressor-Complete-Spraying/dp/B012S2J8DM

 

Thanks

Edited by Michael Morris
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Hi Michael,

my best guess if something appears to be to good to be true it probably is. When I saw your post I thought £28 for an airbrush was unusually low but when I looked at the site & saw there was a compressor as well alarm bells started. It may be a perfectly serviceable bit of kit but I have my doubts, I wouldn't buy one. If you do let me know how you get on.

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The old saying that you get what you pay for applies as much to airbrushes as anything else although the reviews on Amazon (which I assume you've read) are more favourable than not. They tend to be more critical of the compressor than the actual airbrush

 

Over the years I've owned a few cheap Chinese "knock off" airbrushes. One was actually very good, at least as good as my Paasche Talon which probably cost five times as much, but the others were pretty useless. You can be lucky with a cheap airbrush but equally you can be disappointed.

 

Personally I'd give it a miss and save for something better but it's your shot to call.

 

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Just don't. Gun will probably be tunable for basecoats. Nothing more. Compressor will be pure rubbish. Membrane type, so super loud and not enough pressure. No tank, so the air will be pumping. No Pressure regulation. Just don't.

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48 minutes ago, Michael Morris said:

Okay, thanks

So, if not the one I suggested.  What is the cheapest set up I could buy that might do the job I need it to?

I think that if you're looking for the absolutely, cheapest set up you can buy, then you're probably going to be disappointed with it's performance. The thing with airbrushing is you're either doing it or not. Sure, you really don't need to spend several hundred pounds for a decent set up, but absolute bargain basement is never going to be that great. If I was to offer some advice it would be to get the best compressor you can afford within your budget. Cheap compressors rarely perform very well and they can be terribly noisy. For an airbrush I'd probably be inclined to spend anywhere from £30-£50 for something nice that will perform well and last. Just my thoughts..

 

 

 

 

Edited by Steve Noble
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3 minutes ago, bhouse said:

Is your name Elon Musk, by any chance?

You guessed!!!

What I meant was that I build models of real spacecraft, not Sci-fi (with the exception of the Orion Shuttle from 2001).

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It might be worth getting in touch with Paul at modellingtools.co.uk (aka Little Cars). He is a member of this site, 100% trustworthy and hugely knowledgable about all things airbrush-related.

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Buying the best possible airbrush and compressor you can afford, from reputable brands, is excellent advice. A poorly made airbrush can do more harm than good. 

 

With your choice of subject, I wonder if rattle cans would be sufficient early on? 

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On 01/07/2019 at 05:01, dnl42 said:

With your choice of subject, I wonder if rattle cans would be sufficient early on? 

Will a rattle can produce a superior finish to a cheap airbrush?

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yes and no.

You can get a good even coverage on a large area with a rattle can but its harder to use on details. There is less control with it due to the amount of paint and the force of it coming out of the can. eg. trying to paint small tight areas usually leads to a build up of paint in the adjacent areas

On the other hand - an airbrush gives better fine control, getting into those small tight areas. Mostly, it takes longer to cover and get even cover on large areas with an airbrush

 

I use both. a rattle can for primer and undercoat and then, maybe a silver for an overall NMF, or for the Dark Earth on a 1/48 RAF fighter, but then an airbrush to paint in the Dark Green on the masked Dark Earth

I use cheap Chinese airbrushes which cost under £18 each. I've used them for almost 20 years and they suit me and my needs.

Compressor is a re-purposed Babyliss Spray Tanning compressor which I bought second hand for £7 about 14 years ago. There is no gauge on it but I just twiddle the pressure control knob till I get a good spray

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9 hours ago, Michael Morris said:

Will a rattle can produce a superior finish to a cheap airbrush?

Not necessarily. It all depends on the user. An experienced user can still achieve an excellent finish with a cheap airbrush, just as an inexperienced user can make a total hash job with a £300 airbrush. My personal thoughts are that at first a good air source is preferable to a mega expensive airbrush..

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23 hours ago, Michael Morris said:

Will a rattle can produce a superior finish to a cheap airbrush?

As a 100% committed airbrush user  with monster 4 piston compressor  I am biased but when I need to use a rattlecan for my abstract art, using acid etch primer on albion tube etc, I use one of these, you'd be surprised how much more control you have over what comes out of the rattlecan:

 

https://www.halfords.com/workshop-tools/garage-workshop/welding-metal-work/can-gun-1-spray-can-tool

 

 

 

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Okay, I've just used a rattle can of Humbrol satin enamel varnish on a model. It seems to have gone on okay, but I'm a bit alarmed to find that I've used over 1/3 of a can with just two coats of varnish on my Airfix Orion Shuttle.  At £4.99 a tin that's quite pricey.

Now it may well be that I've been heavy handed with the spray, but I get the impression that an awful lot of the paint/varnish doesn't end up on the model.

 

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a. before use warm the can in a jug of very warm, almost hot, water.

b. shake the can very well for a full 2 minutes

c. spray in a warm dry atmosphere

 

this will help reduce how much paint you use, it will help the paint dry faster

its in the nature of the spray can job that more paint will miss the target than if you used an airbrush

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When I restarted making models a few years ago I started with spray cans ( tamiya mostly )  and got some good finishes but after I finished 4 kits and realized I had spent about £40 on cans, I got myself an airbrush. It is cheaper in the long run but it can be a pain to use and clean and service and when your short on time just don't bother! But I wouldn't go back to cans now. 

 

I bought a compressor like This about 4 years about and it still works fine ( It will probably brake the next time i use it now I have said that). As for the brush, I have one that cost £6.50, one that cost about £60 and one that cost £110.  I still haven't decided if spending just over £100 was worth it, so I would probably say get a cheap one but get one of the branded starter airbrushes from the likes of Iwata (Neo) or H&S (Ultra) as well if you can.

 

Well that's what I think but the views on airbrushes are as varied as they are on politics. 

Edited by rockpopandchips
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You will waste some paint using spray cans, that's inevitable. Obviously the airbrush sprays finer and offers more control, so more paint ends up on the model and less is wasted. I only use cans for primer as I've never found an airbrush ready primer that sprays the way I like it to, so I use Tamiya primer from a can and just use the airbrush for my colour and top coats. The thing is, a decent airbrush and compressor set up will last you years and you will soon recoup the money you spend on cans by using it. I guarantee that if you go rock bottom cheap you'll either give up on airbrushing altogether because of problems you encounter or you'll struggle to get the correct performance you desire. As I said in my earlier post, buy the best you can afford. If you can't afford something decent yet wait a little until you can. If you buy really cheap you'll probably look to upgrade sometime in the future. So you'll end up buying twice. My honest advice would be to save the money you'll spend on really cheap stuff and put it towards something better that will serve you well and last..

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  • 1 month later...

If you've used an airbrush before and know its what you want, the advice above stands.  If you're new to it though, getting a cheapy set might be a good way to decide if you like it.

 

I bought my no-brand airbrush and tiny compressor 3 years ago for about $80 Australian, and I'm still using both.  Sure they're not perfect, but I'm no expert so they do the job fine for me.  Neither has broken yet!

Edited by Beggsy
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Have a look at something like the Expo Tools AB602 airbrush and compressor combo. 

Your experience with a spray can proves it. With an airbrush you can perform from fine, intricate coverage to large areas. And use far, far less paint than you would with spray tins.

I started out with one of these combos and it honestly works brilliantly. You can buy extra needles (0.2 or 0.3 mm) and nozzles online too for even finer work (1/72 Luftwaffe mottling etc). 

 

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